3 Things I’m worried about by Travis Sharpe

I wish I could tell you that I never worry. I wish I could honestly say that I am always filled with faith and that nothing bothers me. But, if I claimed that, it would be far from true.

The truth is that I have fears, doubts, concerns, and yes, even worry. Maybe that’s a little too transparent for you. Maybe you want a missionary who only tells the positive side. If that’s who you’re looking for, I’m not your guy.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t stay up all night staring at the ceiling wondering if God hears my prayers. I don’t bite my finger nails off with so much worry that it constantly overtakes my faith.

I’m not worried about our ministry continuing. I’m not worried about the needs being met. I’m not worried about wither or not God will be faithful. I know and believe with all my heart that God is in control.

So what am I worried about?

1. I’m worried about the people I love

I don’t know how you do ministry, but our family goes all in. We expose our hearts and become vulnerable. Many preachers keep folks at arms length and live lives of virtual solitude and distrust. While I understand why that happens, I can’t live that way.

I don’t want to hold back. I want to love. Our hearts have been broken because of this before and I suppose they will again. That’s the trouble with loving people and getting close to them. The pain is real and the hurt lingers.

But, If we never become vulnerable, we will never know the joy of loving and being loved. To me, the exchange is worth it.

I have grown to love a little 4 year old boy named Democrito. When We first met him he was very sick. He had TB, among other things. We took him to the doctor a few months ago and he is gaining strength each day.

From the start, he clung to me. I have never seen him when he didn’t run to me and jump into my arms. He doesn’t say a whole lot with his lips but he speaks volumes with his hugs and kisses.

This little boy lives with his family in a squatter camp and the conditions are bad. No electricity or running water, no good ventilation, no bathroom, no bed.

The cards are stacked against him and his siblings. I love him and I am worried.

There are plenty of other people on our hearts. April is worried about Lola. She is our helper in our house but mostly she has become our friend. She has taken care of April for the last two months as if April was her own daughter.

She has cooked most of our meals and washed our clothes. She has went shopping for us and done the dishes. She has prayed for us and served us.

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She lives in a tiny little house that is more like a hut. It’s on someone else’s land and she is being made to evacuate along with about 100 others. This widow woman is very resourceful and resilient and can take care of herself for sure. But when you love someone it’s hard to see them go without.

She is going to stay here at our mission house while we are gone but we are a little worried about her future. Please help us pray for this dear lady.

2. I’m worried about a loss of interest

Over the past five months, while we have been here in the Philippines, I have been able to interact with people each and every day. I have been involved in everything and therefore I have been able to write about it all.

It’s like I have been an eyewitness reporter. I have told the stories, shared the pictures and laid my heart out there for the world to see (or at least those of you on my email list!).

The best part is that you have responded. Our supporters have been engaged and helpful. I have received emails and  facebook messages from dozens and dozens of people assuring me that they are praying.

There were several time when I couldn’t pray. My heart was too heavy or I was too exhausted. My prayers were more like a plea for God to know my heart. But in those times, the prayers of our friends carried us.

You have also given generously. We were able to build two ministry centers, two small homes, a bathroom for a church, buy a van, purchase tons of food and equipment, outfit a mission house and take dozens of kids to the doctor and hospital. And that’s a simple overview. there’s a lot more.

My fear is that people may lose interest when we are not here. I won’t be able to give “real time” reports and show you that we are right there with the people making a difference ourselves.

I hope and pray that everyone understands the value of continuing to pray and give even when we are gone. I can assure you that even though we will be absent, the needs will still be very real and very present.

I will do my very best to communicate with our workers and partners each week so that I can bring you the very best updates that I can. Will you stay tuned and continue to love these people with me?

3. I’m worried about my own heart 

Yes, I’m hoping that our supporters will continue to stay engaged and interested while we are away. But to be completely honest, I am also praying for myself to remain engaged and interested.

There is no doubt that I will continue. The fear is that the ease and comfort of our great nation, the one that God has blessed us with in the West, comfort me so much once again, that my heart grows cold and indifferent to the suffering of people 9,000 miles away.

I worry  about my own spiritual temperature.

Will I still feel their pain? Will I still empathize? Will I continue to sacrifice? Or will the comforts of home cause me to forget?

I’m not a Super-Christian. I have all of the shortcomings and tendencies that every other human being has, probably more.

Please join me in praying for me that I will stayed “fired-up” and excited about preaching the gospel and practically sharing God’s love with desperate people.

In conclusion

I do want you to know that although these (and a few other) things worry me, the worry is not the end of the road. For me, faith doesn’t always mean an absence of doubt, fear and worry. I see faith more like a blanket. A blanket that covers all of my doubts, fears and worries.
Late at night, when the coldness of worry and the fear of uncertainty begins to creep up on me, I simply pull the blanket of faith up a little further. It covers me and keeps me warm. At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, I trust that my God will hold me and that all will be just fine.

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